MILAN — When Milan Beauty Week’s organizers first introduced the initiative earlier this year, they said they were aiming to replicate the successful format of the city’s Design Week and Fuorisalone event to beauty. It was only fitting, then, that the inaugural edition of MBW kicked off on Tuesday at Milan’s ADI Design Museum.
Here, skin care label Bakel unveiled its latest innovation, the Jalu-3D, which blurs the lines between design and formulation. The result of seven years of research by the Udine, Italy-based company in conjunction with the universities of Ferrara and Padova, Jalu-3D is a patch made of micro stripes of pure hyaluronic acid.
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Its particular crisscross structure enhances skin care benefits, starting from immediate absorption and high efficiency. When applied on damp skin, the waterless formulation quickly melts and penetrates in-depth in the derma, delivering a concentrated boost of the active ingredient.
Raffaella Gregoris, who launched Bakel in 2009, said such a structure enables the company to offer hyaluronic acid in concentration 10 times higher compared to the average concentrated creams and emulsions.
Courtesy of Bakel
Bakel invested 3 million euros in R&D to implement the technology behind the product as well as to set up an American branch dubbed Bakel Corp.
As the company’s mission is to ramp up the project internationally, the US branch will be tasked to implement a digital, direct-to-consumer strategy for the brand. For one, the customer journey will be enhanced by AI that will help shoppers identify the face areas where to apply the patches for best results.
Even if Bakel’s online store proved to be key during the pandemic, sustaining sales as well as offering key insights on consumers, starting from 2020, the brand also committed to expand its physical distribution network, so far mainly relegated to Italy.
While in the domestic market it added distribution in pharmacies to its existing perfumery channel — which helped Bakel report a 30 percent increase in sales in 2021 versus 2020 — for the rest of Europe the company is eyeing partnerships with high-end retailers, starting from Le. Bon Marche in Paris.
Internalization is considered the real turning point for the brand’s growth by its parent company Culti Milano, which acquired a 50.01 percent stake in the cosmetics firm in 2019 after an investment of 2.5 million euros.
In addition to Bakel, Culti Milano’s portfolio includes the eponymous brand of home fragrances and Scent Company, a business-to-business firm specialized in olfactory branding and development of ambiance fragrances for retailers, showrooms, hotels and spas.
Listed on the Italian Stock Exchange since 2017, the Culti Milano group reported total sales of 21 million euros last year, up 55 percent compared to the previous year. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were up 54 percent to 5 million euros.
Stefano Trovati/Courtesy of Bakel
The Jalu-3D concept marks another step in Bakel’s primary mission of offering solutions optimizing active ingredients. A biochemist who previously developed skin care products for private label lines, Gregoris realized more than a decade ago that many formulations included unnecessary ingredients in delivering effective, scientifically proven benefits. Therefore, she launched her own brand of clean beauty made of essential, concentrated formulas mainly focusing on battling the skin’s aging mechanisms.
“Efficiency is at the core of the Jalu-3D project, which was initiated by a strong willingness to reach better results,” said Gregoris, presenting researches that show the product delivering first results after 10 days. According to studies on a sample of people, hydration and collagen in the skin both progressively grew over a three-month period, with collagen increasing 18.4 percent in the first month and up 37 percent by the end of the third, for instance.
So far, Jalu-3D has secured five patents — regarding its chemical composition, manufacturing process and final product, among others — while additional ones are pending, Gregoris said.
“We just tried to think outside the box. This project doesn’t intend to substitute traditional cosmetics, but flank them, show an alternative solution and give the chance to users to achieve a different result,” Gregoris said. She added that the company is already working on replicating the project using another active ingredient as well as expanding the concept and its technology to other industries.
“But another type of Jalu-3D with a different thickness is going to be introduced also in our spas,” said the founder, listing units in luxury destinations such as Borgo Egnazia — in Italy’s Apulia region — and Casa Cipriani, which is to open. in central Milan this summer.
Jalu-3D hit the Italian market on Tuesday, retailing 250 euros for 40 single-use patches coming in compostable packaging.
Courtesy of Bakel
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